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July 31, 2017

A Mighty Change of Heart

So yesterday I decided that I wanted to study a mighty change of heart because I have felt in the last couple weeks that the missionaries in this area (myself included) may not have their hearts in quite the right place right now and with transfers coming up next week I wanted to find a way to make a difference here with these missionaries before they leave. but then I realized that I don’t even really know what the word "heart" means or refers to in the scriptures, and I can’t give a training on something that I don’t know like the back of my hand. So i decided to go to the index and ask the Book of Mormon what the word means. Once i started to see different prophets using the word in different contexts I began to see a little bit of what my heart truly is and what I need to go through to change it. In the very first scripture that the index ties to the word heart, which is 1 nephi 17:44 it tells us (in my own words) that what’s in our hearts matters a whole lot more than our mindset or our actions, so we have got to keep our hearts clean. We have got to make sure that those deep desires and appetites within us are clean and pure. And then in the next chapter, chapter 18 verses 19 and 20 we can learn that only God can soften or change our hearts. Not even Nephi's wife with all her tears and anguish and her kids with all their tears and begging could soften or change the hearts of Laman and Lemuel, but the power of God could, and it was the only thing that could! God is so loving and kind that if we will even turn to Him just a little then He will help us to have a mighty change of heart. 2 Nephi 4:16 tells us that we should be pondering in our hearts the words of scriptures and modern-day prophets so that we can grow closer to Christ. And in 1 Nephi 22:26 we learn that if we can become righteous enough then satan won’t have any power over our hearts! He can’t touch us and persuade us to do evil!! I think that’s one of the coolest promises. If we will do all we can to further our spirituality and grow in our faith then satan can’t touch us. What more motivation do we need to "do good continually"? but if we do need more motivation then God’s got us covered because in Mosiah 2 verse 41 we learn that if we keep God’s commandments then we will be blessed in ALL things, not just with a better knowledge of the scriptures or a better job, but in ALL things. God is the God of everything so if we want to be blessed with anything (or everything) then we ought to turn to Him a little more and obey His wise counsel found in the words of His prophets. 
    I love this gospel and I love the things we can find in the scriptures. I stink at remembering where i find things and what’s taking place in that time but i never fail to remember the lessons i have learned and the joy that fills my soul in such a way that i cannot deny the divinity of Christ’s Church and Christ’s Gospel. There are many missionaries who are able to read the Book of Mormon, The Bible, and The Living Christ multiple times on their mission which does increase their knowledge immensely. But I am definitely not one of those missionaries. I can’t sit down and read for more than 5 minutes without being lost and not remembering what i just read and so I have found myself on many occasions studying one or two verses for 30 or 40 minutes and it completely satisfies my want/need for more spiritual knowledge. The reason I wanted to share this with you was because too many people get caught up in how much others are studying the scriptures when all we really need to worry about is coming away from those studies with the feeling that we have accomplished what we sat down to do which should always be to grow in our own spirituality, to feel of God’s love for us, and to become aware of something we can do better. Repentance is the biggest message that we carry with us as Christ’s disciples and so we must always remain strong in our own repentance and in changing our own lives to become more aligned with Christ’s life. 

I love you all!

Love, Elder Cluff

July 21, 2017

Hey There!

Well, this last week has been a great time for learning and growth. Now don't start thinking i'm going through a hard time just because i said growth, its actually been a super fun week. We have been having a little bit of a hard time finding more people to teach and at first i was kind of complaining to myself, but then i started to think about all those in the book of mormon who were unable to find willing souls to teach for many years. Then i decided that it's not up to me when i come across those whom the Lord has prepared, but it is up to me to prepare myself so that the Lord can then use me when the time does arise. And this is also what a lot of our zone conference was about this last week. Sister Savage gave a very bold teaching on how our mission's barrier is not found in how hard we work and needing to work harder, but that our barrier is found rather in how hard we are trying to have the spirit with us at all times to truly lead and guide us in our every step and thought throughout the day. Times have changed and these are the last days where we have to try harder than ever in order to help people see the light simply because satan is trying as hard as he can to blind them. This means that I can't just increase my ability to teach lessons in a way that will catch peoples attention. I have to have the spirit there to tell me what to say, not only in the important parts of the lesson, but throughout the whole lesson. I need the spirit to tell me what these people need in their lives. I need the spirit to tell me what blessings Heavenly Father will bestow upon them if they keep our commitments. "You cannot do the Lord's work in the Devil's way."  If we are trying to do what the Lord would have us do then we must do it his way. We can't try to find an easier route. We can't refuse to go to church but then attend the temple on a regular basis because all of our friends are going. In D&C 4 verse 2 it tells us that if we are going to follow and serve God then we need to do it with all that we have. We must show God and ourselves that we are willing to do what is necessary to find ourselves side by side with our brother Jesus Christ one day. 
    Sometimes we would like to think that God is a God of proportions-- meaning that if a trial comes our way then he will have to send the same amount of joy our way because that's just how it works. But i can testify that this is now how it works.... God is a God of love and compassion and mercy, and He will always bless us with much more joy and happiness than trials and afflictions. We just have to be willing to "wait upon the Lord" and bare our "afflictions with patience and long suffering" until the day comes when God sees fit to bless us. I love in 1 Nephi 17 how Nephi and his whole family are going through so many trials and afflictions that they can't even write about it yet they still rejoice in what the Lord has done for them (verse 6), but even after all these hardships and heartaches the Lord doesn't just let them rest and be happy like they've passed some test. The Lord then calls Nephi to go to the top of a mountain where He will be asked by the Lord to build a huge ship that he has no idea how to build. And then after they build a ship they head off to the promised land, but instead of just having a nice easy sail across the ocean Nephi"s brothers decide to tie him to a pole (just like any good brother would do right?) and then when they finally get to the promised land they just start fighting each other with real swords instead of just sticks. Like what the heck Laman and Lemuel? why you gotta be such haters? Anyways, my point by sharing this is that Nephi had to find Joy even during hard times and he had to rejoice in what the Lord had provided because it seems that he wasn't really going to get much rest until he was in heaven. This life is a test where we get to prove ourselves worthy to God and also to ourselves to enter into the kingdom of God. 

Well, that's all i got for ya!! 

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

My Testimony

So I figured its been a while since I have really born much of a testimony on here and so I wanted to take a few minutes to do so. I would like to start with a scripture, Matthew 6:24 "no man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. ye cannot serve God and mammon.". I have been trying to distinguish in my own life when i am serving God and when i am serving mammon so that i can then cut out the times when i am serving mammon, but that is no easy task. I often ask myself "how am I to know which is which?" but God is merciful and He never leaves me hanging. The scripture that always comes to my mind is St John 14:26 which tells us that the Holy Ghost can teach us all things. Now if the Holy Ghost can teach us all things then why doesn't He? Well, its because we need to be worthy, a member of the Godhead can't speak to us when we aren't even trying to get close enough to hear! I know that God wants us to grow and to learn through the guidance of the Holy Ghost, but we must put in our 110% and then God will put in his 110% to help us. Christ tells us in D&C 59:11 that "thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times." This is no standstill, complacent gospel. This is a Gospel that is meant to help us grow and become better through whatever means God would have us use. i love my Heavenly Father because He lets me grow by letting me choose whether or not to follow Him, and I do want to follow Him. The suffering that Jesus Christ went through for us and the love He has for us allows us to become more than we could ever deserve in our own eyes.  D&C 3:10 "But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandments which i gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work." When we sin it doesn't mean that we have lost our status in Gods eyes. It simply means we need to quickly repent and return to the commandments which God has given us. I know that the scriptures can teach us more then we can ever take in and that one of the things they can teach us is how to discern between God and mammon. we just have to be willing to search the scriptures and find those simple truths that we need in our lives. 
         We Got to meet President and Sister Savage this week and they seem like they will be an amazing mission President and Wife for these next 3 years. they are great teachers, they are straight forward and they reach out with love to guide and direct us as missionaries. I love seeing the difference between the Mission Presidents and Wives yet they still act through guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost. it just goes to show that we are meant to be ourselves with our individual personalities and life experiences. God didn't make us different just to have us be the exact same as someone else. He wants us to be ourselves and to love ourselves.... as long as we are serving Him and loving Him through it all. 
        We also got to go to our 4th of July picnic on Tuesday and its was tons of fun! we played frisbee, basketball, played catch with a football, tossed around a rugby ball.... and had to wear church clothes the whole time! it was great!! No it really was a ton of fun, the only part that wasn't so much fun was we broke a sweat just getting up to go get a piece of pie!
  
Well that's all folks! see ya next time!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

Work is FUNdamental

This week has been a great one for getting out and doing the work, and i have come to find that if you choose to let yourself have fun then everything seems to become much more enjoyable and your mood is always one of joy and gratefulness. I think the biggest thing i learned this week to help me become happier as we are out all day everyday trying to share the gospel with everyone is to take everyday to God and tell him that i will do my best, and then i find that i am much more willing to be happy throughout the day because i know that God has now entrusted me with certain things throughout the day because He knows i have committed myself to Him. I hope that this has made sense so far because I'm not to good with my words and how i explain things. 
    Something that i learned from the scriptures this week was pretty cool and i thought i would share it with you. So I was reading in 1st Nephi 17 and i realized that whenever Laman and Lemuel were murmuring physically they couldn't feel the spirit and the insight from God that comes with the spirit even if they were wanting to have things confirmed by God, but whenever they were willing to go along with the physical demands of their journey without murmuring then they were able to feel the spirit and gain greater light and knowledge according to their faith. I think the relation between our physical bodies and our spirits is one that has to be wholesome and refined in order to receive revelation from God. I feel that whenever i see that i am murmuring and i stop immediately then that is the point where my life starts turning, that is the point where God is up there saying "he finally understands, now i can proclaim him worthy to receive my heavenly blessings." In light of this realization I am now going to strive even harder to take the advice of Nephi and keep the commandments of the Lord without any murmurings. 
   This week has also been a lot of fun just because Elder MacPherson and I have been enjoying ourselves all throughout the day by making the hardest moments into a time to laugh and tell ourselves it doesn't matter. I love the fact that we are able to lay aside any of those hard moments because the Savior has already dealt with them.  The Savior wants to help us, we just have to let Him.
       Well, once again that's about all i got for this week. Hope y'all can go out and have some good spiritual experiences this week and have fun doing it! "Make it personal, because it is." President Mendenhall.... RIP


Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff

July 6, 2017

Change is Good!

I love having things change because it keeps me from getting into these ruts with companions and/or areas. And this last week has given me many chances to make changes and try better. I got a new companion and we moved houses and then we are moving houses again this wednesday because everybody has family coming in and we have to jump around to whoever doesn't have family at the moment... so that's fun! But Elder MacPherson and I have been going nonstop since he got here and we also get along super well. We found a lot of people this week who were willing to hear a few words about Christ and the peace He can bring. 
   One of my favorite things from this week though was something i found in studies yesterday morning in 1 Nephi 16:23 because Nephi says earlier on that his bow broke and his brothers bows lost their spring but that would mean that their arrows are still perfectly fine, so why did Nephi make another arrow? Well this isn't doctrine by any means but I would like to share the thought that I had when I asked myself this question. My first thought was simply that the Lord asks us not just to replace parts of our lives that are broken but to continually upgrade our lives through repentance and continually striving to follow our Savior and his actions. My second thought, which confirmed the first, came when i read verses 30-31. Nephi says that He went to the top of the mountain to find food for his family and I find it to be no coincidence that the top of the mountains are God's temples because in order to enter Gods temples we must be clean and worthy both on the inside and the outside. We cannot just change our appearance (our bows) but keep our habits the same as before (our arrows). It is my hope that I can continue to break my old bows and replace my old arrows so that i may become the person that God would have me be. But it is often easy to want to replace our bows because we want food; the hard part comes when we have to willingly throw away our old arrows and put in the work to make new ones. 
       Man, one of my favorite things these days is when i'm able to find a cool scripture in my studies and then use it somehow throughout the day. I love how much insight is within the scriptures and how applicable every little verse is to our day. All we have to do is be willing to search the scriptures and really think about what they are saying. 
      I apologize for how short my emails always are. i just write whatever i feel i need to express and then i don't worry about writing anymore cause it'll just leave me with more stories to tell when i get home!

Love you all!
Love, Elder Cluff  

Wow, That View is Worth 10 Regular Views!

So! good news!!! I'm staying in boulder this transfer! And i've got one of my favorite Elders coming to be my companion! Elder MacPherson!! I'm pretty pumped for this transfer. it'll be fun but there will also be tons of growth and teaching. this area has grown a ton lately when it comes to people to teach and so it's really made this transfer a great one! 
      We found this guy Gary the other day and He is just a super cool guy! We just ran into him on our way to someone else but he was super welcoming and actually invited us into his house for a few minutes. So then we went back a few days later and we taught him the first lesson after he told us about nutrition (which is how we got the return appointment) and how we can help our bodies to clear our minds so that the spirit can talk to us better. It was actually really cool, and then when we talked about the first vision, i told him what Joseph Smith said, and his mouth just dropped wide open. he was so amazed at the story and so we invited him to church and he went to church and now we are meeting with him tomorrow again! So that's just one miraculous thing that happened this week.
    We have also had the opportunity to help out at a local food bank and its always so cool to me to see the other volunteers there who sacrifice portions of their lives to help others, and they aren't on missions so they actually have to take time out of their busy days to go volunteer and they do it for like 4 hours twice a week! It just really opens my eyes to all the good people out there and it has made me want to get to know people better, not just teach them but really get to know them and understand why they do what they do and what brings them comfort in this day and age. Another experience that brought that thought to the forefront of my brain was this guy Jonathan who we ran into a couple weeks ago and he said we were welcome to stop buy and talk anytime if his car was there. so we stopped by on saturday and ended up just talking to him like we were old friends for like 40 minutes. But the really cool part was that as we tried to just befriend this guy the Lord really did intervene and give us the perfect set-ups to talk about the principles of the gospel and i think that this is something that i underestimate a lot because i definitely don't just befriend people that often without the thought in the back of my mind of how i'm going to get this person to investigate the church and go through the steps to be baptized; but when we genuinely care about someone and we just want to help out and be their friend then God sets up the gospel conversations, not us. 

Well Elder Siler and I have a bunch of packing to do and cleaning to do because he has to pack for transfers and we are also moving into a different ward members home on wednesday... so i might have to cut this short, but know that the Lord is on your side! "...when they are spit upon, and made a hiss and a byword, they are standing shoulder to shoulder with the best life this world has ever known." 
"fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."
     It is my testimony that our Father in Heaven who loves us NEVER abandons us, even when we abandon Him, His arm of mercy is still outstretched ready to receive us once again. Never let yourself think that He is not there because times are hard or because you can't feel his immediate presence. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if he didn't abandon our dear prophet Joseph Smith when he was in the lowliest of places (D&C 121-123) then why on earth would our God be abandoning us just because we don't feel his embrace quite as strongly as we did yesterday? God Loves us!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love you all
Love Elder Cluff

June 16, 2017

More Effort=More Blessings

This week I have seen the hand of the Lord so abundantly as I have tried harder to grow my knowledge and use more of my knowledge when talking to others. The biggest thing I was working on was getting more scriptures in my head that I can pull out in lessons so that people are learning from the scriptures, which we know to be the word of God, and not from little old me who may have a tendency to add many unneeded details. As I did this I found so many inspiring verses that I had never really seen before and began to memorize them just well enough to remember the reference and the story line. I began to realize very quickly that the Lord would then bring these scriptures to my remembrance so often throughout the day when it was needed to comfort someone or to take the attention off of my words and show them words of the prophets of old. 
     Our mission put on this mission-wide convert fireside friday night where all 140 missionaries from our mission went, as well as all the recent converts we could round up. This was one of the coolest experiences I've had out here in relation to meetings or events. There were several recent converts that spoke and one of them showed up in jeans and a T-shirt thinking she was going to be standing by a big bonfire talking to a little group of individuals.... so if you ever invite someone to a fireside who hasn't been before make sure you tell them it's not a real fireside!  Another recent convert that spoke talked about how he wasn't really thinking that he wanted to join the church but he didn't want to go against Christ if it really is His Gospel so he prayed and told God that he needed a big answer, something to tell him this is the right path. Well a couple weeks passed and no answer came so he thought it meant that the church wasn't true. He was about to call it quits with the missionaries but on his way home from work he needed to stop by a bank so he found the closest one on his phone and clicked "GO". The only problem was that when his phone said he had arrived he found himself sitting in the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints building. This was a pretty funny story and he ended up taking that as part of his answer and kept meeting with the missionaries and then got baptized.
    One of the coolest things for me at this fireside though was hearing/seeing these individuals who have only come to know these truths less than a year ago stand up and testify that this is Christ's Church here on the earth, this is his gospel, the book of mormon is true and it contains the word of God, Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, and all these other things that one may testify of. But the Testimonies of those who have come to know these truths a little further into their lives than us who were born into it I believe are even more powerful because they could not have gained that testimony any way other than through direct inspiration from the Holy Ghost. I feel some aspects of my testimony come from the teachings of my parents or the conviction of my youth leaders, but this cannot be the case for those who have never heard the pleasing word of the Lord found within the Book of Mormon until now. It is my hope and prayer that we will all search for that confirmation from the spirit that the things we have been taught and are being taught are true. "No one can know of spiritual truths without prayer." -Preach My Gospel pg. 39
      One last thing that I learned while at the fireside. As one of the speakers said, "I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," I truly felt that the things he had said were something that Christ would have said. I then had to ask myself the question, "when I close something that i say with Christ's name, am i truly saying something that He would say if he were here?" I think this is a question we can all often ask ourselves, and if the answer is no, then simply study the things that Christ has said to us and pattern your words and conversations after His. We should all strive to become as Nephi and Lehi (the ones in helaman) who were given those names to invite them to pattern their lives after their forbears as it says in verses 6 and 7 of helaman 5. For we have truly taken upon us the name of Christ through baptism and now we are continually invited to pattern our lives after His. 

Well that's about all I've got time for, but have a good week everybody!!! "I would desire that ye should consider upon the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God"

Love you all!
  Love, Elder Cluff!